Tip Sheet: Strategies for Managing Students on One Computer or a Limited
Number of Computers
Linda J. Burkhart
Consider introducing a web site or software program as a whole class with
a projection device before having students access the site directly.
Prepare students for what they will be learning and what will be expected
Pair students by selecting a "computer literate" student to work with a
less experienced student.
Assign 5-6 students as computer monitors to assist students and help with
computer operation instead of interrupting the teacher who may be working
with other students.
Place students at computers in cooperative learning groups with clear roles.
Create groups of three students: Keyboard operator, Mouse operator, and
Director/Recorder. In a crowded area, the Director/Recorder student can
stand behind the other two and give the directions. Rotate roles every
A larger cooperative group may have additional roles such as: time keeper,
a separate recorder and director, screen reader, editor, etc.
When using a mini-lab, consider having everyone follow directions together
to get them to the same place before allowing students to proceed on their
Plan a related activity that may be done by part of the class in another
area, while others are directly interacting with the computer. Sometimes,
activities may be taken directly from a targeted web site or a related
web site and printed out ahead of time.
Another possibility is to have part of the class using traditional printed
resources to research the same questions as students on the Internet and
then switch groups. Students can be asked to compare information accessed
in both locations using a graphic organizer or class discussion.
Any students who abuse their privilege at the computer should immediately
be removed from the computer for a period of time.
Tip Sheet: Strategies for Managing Students Using a Computer and Projection
Linda J. Burkhart
Assign one student as keyboarder and one student to control the mouse.
The teacher can then give oral directions to these students to control
the computer as the teacher conducts the lesson. This allows the teacher
to move around the classroom to direct and manage student behavior and
As the teacher gives the "keyboarder" or "mouse controller" oral directions,
computer operation and Internet navigational techniques are modeled for
the whole class. This becomes a base level knowledge for students who will
later use computers individually.
Assign appropriate set-up tasks to students. Depending on age of students
and school policies, students can position equipment by moving carts, connect
the projection device, turn on equipment in the correct sequence, log into
the network, open the web browser such as Netscape and load the designated
web site through a bookmark or bookmark file in the global shared file.
Change the font size in Netscape's Preferences / Fonts to a larger font
that may easily be read from the back of the classroom.
For pages with busy backgrounds, change Netscape's Preferences / Colors
to "Custom" and select white as the background color.